NEW CITY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day unveiled the 2022 Proposed Budget which does not include a property tax increase, layoffs, or program cuts. The County Executive detailed the proposed $774,895,030 spending plan at the Allison Parris County Office Building in New City.
County Executive Day detailed many of the challenges Rockland has faced since 2014 including a $138 million budget deficit he inherited when first taking office, a nearly year-long measles outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Through it all we have fought, we have sometimes struggled, and we have over and over again made the hard choices. Our dedicated and hardworking employees have made do with less. But we have found new and innovative ways to get the job done despite these hurdles. We have done the work, and it is paying off as we turn the corner and move forward with Rockland’s renaissance,” said County Executive Day.
The County of Rockland has recovered from a $138 million deficit in 2014 to a $92 million fund balance or surplus at the end of 2020. The County Executive credited conservative budgeting, responsible economic growth and the hard work, insight and creativity of county employees for this incredible turnaround.
“When the pandemic struck, we acted immediately. Our Department Heads, including the elected offices of the Sheriff, the District Attorney and the County Clerk took action to mitigate the financial impacts by implementing austerity measures, instituting a hiring freeze, applying for FEMA Disaster Assistance, and reducing our Capital Borrowing. This was a whole government approach, and in a bi-partisan fashion, Rockland closed ranks to protect our residents, our businesses, and your tax dollars,” said County Executive Day.
These protective actions coupled with a rebounding economy in 2020 resulted in County government underspending by $65 million and adding an additional $25 million to fund balance or surplus despite a $40 million decrease in revenues.
The 2022 Proposed Budget includes:
– $10 million for the Open Space program which has a goal of acquiring areas of scenic beauty, environmentally sensitive lands, farms, and Hudson River waterfront areas.
– $8 million in a contractual reserve to settle open union contracts.
– $2.5 million for the renovation of the current highway garage in New City.
– $467,000 for possible increases in funding to nonprofit contract agencies and 224 agencies.
County Executive Day concluded the Budget announcement by reiterating his commitment to fiscal responsibility and refusal to put off costs or difficult decisions onto future generations.
“We will continue our prudent and protective practices. We will not stop looking for ways to improve efficiencies while eliminating delays and unnecessary costs. We will rebuild Rockland so that it works better for every one of our residents. And we will continue to do so in sustainable ways to preserve our county for future generations. We are building resiliency so that we can handle whatever comes next. Whether that be another unknown disease, economic crisis, or climate change event. We are not nearly finished with the renaissance of Rockland County government,” concluded County Executive Day.